The House of Ideas seems full of them this month from the looks of Marvel’s May 2014 advance solicitations. Between long established titles (relaunched or not) and new series like <I>Magneto</I> picking up steam, the comics racks come May of this year look to have some interesting arrivals, departures and twists to be had. <p>According to solicits we will have the death of at least two X-Men and one Avenger, as well as one of Marvel’s core heroes being robbed of their powers. By May the “Trial of Jean Grey” crossover in <I>All-New X-Men</i> and <I>Guardians of the Galaxy</I> will be complete, but another trial will be ratcheting up in <I>Fantastic Four</I>. <p>Click through to see Newsarama’s opinion on the biggest takeaways from the May 2014 solicitations for Marvel Comics.
In early 2013 Jonathan Hickman took his place as the writer of Marvel’s flagship franchise the Avengers, both in <I>Avengers</I> and <I>New Avengers</I>. As part of that he wrote the 2013 summer event series <I>Infinity</I> and recently launched a new spin-off titled <I>Avengers World</I>. But it looks like Hickman is now off that last assignment, as the advance solicitations for May’s <I>Avengers World #6</I> show that series co-writer Nick Spencer is stepping up to be the series sole writer. <p>Back in October when <I>Avengers World</I> was originally advanced, Spencer <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/19185-nycc-exclusive-nick-spencer-and-jonathan-hickman-launch-avengers-world.html>told</A> Newsarama that while he and Hickman were billed as co-writers, he was “in the driver’s seat more” than in other situations, saying that would be “running the ideas by Jonathan and locking them into the broader Avengers narrative.” <p>If that’s the case, then perhaps this is similar to how Brian Michael Bendis co-wrote Hickman’s inaugural <I>Secret Warriors</I> arc before stepping aside to let him go solo. So it could be less of Hickman being off the book but more so of Spencer getting the lay of the land before going off on his own.
The solicitations for the second issue of <I>Iron Patriot</I> promised the death of James “Rhodey” Rhodes, and in January we <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/20118-is-iron-patriot-rhodeys-last-stand-ales-kot-insists-rhodey-dies.html>followed up</A> with series writer Ales Kot to confirm it… and he did. But now here in the following issue, <I>Iron Patriot #3</I>, we’re once again promised “James Rhodes dies!” <p>Does he die twice? Does his death take place over the course of two issues? Is Kot and artist Michael Walsh merely killing people in the phone book with the name “James Rhodes” over the course of this series, <I>Terminator</I>-style? Is he Kenny from <i>South Park</i> and he’ll just die every issue? <p>Truth be told, this could all be marketing bravado to help hype an issue. When we cornered Kot about it back in January, the writer did say that “there are multiple meanings to things,” and that some things aren’t “black and white.”
Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming made an early name for themselves with the creator-owned superhero cop series <I>Powers</I>. In the intervening time, both of their careers have skyrocketed in their own unique ways. But coming in May, they’re taking a break from <I>Powers</I>, and taking a break from superheroes to go straight up crime in a new creator-owned series titled <I>The United States of Murder Inc.</I> <p>Premiering with a double-sized issue at regular price, <I>The United States of Murder Inc.</I> follows a newly made man in the criminal underworld as his life changes when he meets a mysterious hitwoman. Although Bendis is best known for his superhero work at Marvel, the artist-turned-writer’s comics career was built on back-to-back crime dramas like <I>Jinx</I>, <I>Goldfish</I> and <I>Torso</I>.
Back in November when upcoming <I>Fantastic Four</I> writer James Robinson told <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/19557-james-robinson-goes-back-to-basics-in-new-fantastic-four-series.html>Newsarama</a> that “great drama comes from taking your protagonists and dragging them through all kinds of trials, tribulations and heartbreaks,” he was apparently being literal. <p>In the one-two double-shipping May punch of <I>Fantastic Four #4</i> and #5, Robinson and artist Leonard Kirk are promising the destruction of Manhattan with Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny held to blame by the authorities. In addition, the bad-boy boy wonder of the team, the Human Torch, will be robbed of his powers while the FF’s long –time enemies the Wrecking Crew are powered up to “A-level destruction”! <p>The silver lining? The Thing and Alicia Masters might be getting back together, and Walt Simonson is leading a group of “special guest artists” for a “super-sized” issue with <I>Fantastic Four #5</I>.
After nearly a decade of being part of DC’s inner circle of comics writers, Gail Simone is returning to the House of Ideas in May; not just for a short story or guest spot, but on an issue of the creator-centric series <I>Savage Wolverine</I>. <p>Simone, who gained early acclaim with a run on <I>Deadpool</I>, will be writing <I>Savage Wolverine #19</I> (cover to 18 shown - 19 not yet available) which follows Logan when he “collides head first on the worst possible day.” After losing his healing powers and shaking up with a criminal gang, how bad can bad be? <p>It’s too soon to tell if this writing gig is a one-off affair for Simone or the beginnings of a longer-term working arrangement with Marvel. Gus Beezer fans, be patient!
In comics the Mandarin is dead – but this May we will see the birth of a group called the Mandarins. <p>The double-shipping May issues <I>Iron Man #25</I> and #26 which culminate the “Rings of the Mandarin” arc, Kieron Gillen and Luke Ross are going to be unveiling these Mandarins. There’s no word yet on who or what they may be, but given Gillen’s previously disclosed information that the 10 errant rings of the Mandarin are each sentient, we could be seeing a second group of ring-bearers in superhero comics form.
It was a sad day when news broke that Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk’s <I>Captain Britain & The M.I. 13</I> series was cancelled. But now some five years later, those ardent fans who held out hop for a return have something to brighten up they’re day: Cornell is bringing them back. <p>In May’s double-shipping <I>Wolverine #6</I> and #7, series writer Leonard Kirk and artist Gerardo Sandoval will be traveling to the dark corner of the Asian continent Madripoor, and find some unlikely visitors: Pete Wisdom and MI: 13. <p>There’s no word yet on the what, the specific whos, or the whys…. but look at that cover to #6; could that be Pete Wisdom himself?
For the past six years, Dan Slott and Brian Michael Bendis have had the share the title of Marvel’s chief Spider-Man scribe. Although split between two universes (besides a rare crossover), Slott has been in charge of <I>Amazing Spider-Man</I> and <I>Superior Spider-Man</I> while Bendis has been writing the <i>Ultimate Spider-Man</i> title in all its various name-changes. It’s not a competition, but from time to time there’s hints of playful derision by the two writers as they compete to do the best Spider-Man story each month. <p>But now with Peter Parker primed to return to the mantle of Spider-Man in the main Marvel Universe this April in <I>Amazing Spider-Man</I> coinciding with the release of the movie <I>Amazing Spider-Man 2</I>, the writers of Marvel’s solicits text say that Slott’s story isn’t the biggest Spidey story of the year. In the May 2014 solicits, the newly relaunched <I>Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man</I> is billed as “The Biggest Spider-Man Story Of The Year ‘Revival’!” <p>Does Marvel know something we don’t? Is Marvel playing favorites? Is Bigger better? Does asking rhetorical questions here get us any closer to an answer? We don’t know, but stay tuned and we’ll find out!
If you like your superhero comics with a dose of history and creativity, then May’s the month for you. It’s then that the creator of both Moon Knight and Deathlok, Doug Moench, returns to the House of Ideas to co-write the ongoing <I>Thunderbolts</I> series with Charles Soule. There’s no word yet on if this is a one-off assignment or part of something larger, but the idea of Moench’s signature style put on the Red Hulk and his gang of anti-heroes is enticing. <p>Meanwhile, out in space, the duo behind one of the most pivotal event series of all time at Marvel <I>Infinity Gauntlet</I> are reuniting to tell a one-off tale of Thanos. Jim Starlin and Ron Lim are together again for the one-off <I>Thanos Annual #1</I>, and Marvel promises that the Mad Titan will face not only the Avengers and Mephisto but also his own future self. Starlin and Lim are just the team to do it!
Death comes for everyone – and apparently they’re coming for two mutant someone’s in May’s Marvel titles. An end is promised for a hero in both <I>X-Men #14</I> and <I>X-Force #5</I>. <p>In Brian Wood’s <I>X-Men #14</I>, artist Clay Mann joins the book just in time to draw a “a young X-Man dead on the [Jean Grey School’s] front lawn.” There are several heroes in this <I>X-Men</I> who could be classified as “young,” be it part of the main team or merely a guest star from the school who dies in the course of the issue. But the way Marvel seems to be framing it, there are some signs that point to it possibly being the death of Jubilee’s infant child Shogo. In April’s <I>X-Men #13</I> there’s the promise of the infant meeting his future self from <I>X-Men: Battle of the Atom</I>, and #14 goes further saying “Jubilee’s worst nightmare has come to pass… and the future is being rewritten.” So could Shogo be dying? That’s the question Marvel wants you to be asking, at least. <p>Meanwhile, over in the black-ops group <I>X-Force</I>, one of Cable’s own will “meet their end!” That could mean one of the current team members such as Cable, Fantomex, Psylocke, Doctor Nemesis or Marrow, or perhaps the new character Spurrier’s introducing in <I>X-Force #1</I>, MeMe. The group is said to be facing a man named Volga with the ability to weaponized superhumans, and one who’s already experimented on one of the X-Force members. One and the same, or could one kill the other?